'Shagaa' (a bag of sheep and goats' knucklebones) can be found in most Mongolian households. They are used like dice or counters, each facet of the bone representing a different livestock type, in about twenty different games. In this exercise herders used the shagaa bones to rank winter livestock losses over the last ten years. The technique proved useful for illustrating the trends in livestock losses over the years, and providing a basis for discussion. The exercise was enhanced by the use of the bones, which to the herders already represented animals. The paper concludes that there is great potential for much wider use of shagaa in ranking and other participatory techniques with Mongolian herders.
This article will be useful for researchers, planners and practitioners working at the local level with livestock keepers